SCALE Challenge Launches to Disrupt Supply Chain and Logistics

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Teams compete to launch breakthrough supply chain startups in Northwest Arkansas


Cameron Geiger, Senior Vice President at Walmart, said, “The SCALE Challenge has the potential to transform retail supply chains.”

The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI), a global 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to accelerate research commercialization, launches the SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Enterprises) Challenge. The open innovation contest, supported by the Walton Family Foundation, will launch 20+ companies working to disrupt the supply chain and logistics industry sector. The resulting companies will be headquartered in Northwest Arkansas, home to Walmart, Tyson, J.B. Hunt and the University of Arkansas.

For the challenge, CAI evaluated thousands of inventions with potential transformational impact on supply chain and logistics. Inventions include technology in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, drones, robotics, 3D printing, machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality. From this diverse pool of technologies, an invention selection committee, comprised of industry experts and potential investors, chose 20+ de-risked inventions to advance through the SCALE Challenge. For the list of selected inventions, the names of invention selection committee members, and guidance on how to enter the challenge, visit

Rosemarie Truman, Founder of the CAI, said, “Through the SCALE Challenge, CAI will guide the next generation of disruptors to the galvanized Northwest Arkansas ecosystem, where they will redefine the supply chain and cement the region’s legacy as a destination for creators."

Teams that enter the SCALE Challenge have the opportunity to create the next breakthrough supply chain company; participate in CAI’s rigorous accelerator training; engage with world-class mentors; win prize money and vastly expand their network. Teams may compete in the SCALE Challenge in three ways. First, teams may compete to commercialize selected inventions. Second, existing startups may enter the challenge with promising inventions, which have the potential to disrupt supply chains, transportation and logistics. Finally, instead of selecting an invention, participants may submit ideas that they believe will disrupt supply chains, transportation and logistics. CAI will work with the teams to design business models and develop robust business plans.

The SCALE Challenge will also take advantage of the rich arts and culture in Northwest Arkansas by integrating creative thinkers and artists throughout the competition.

As part of the accelerator training, the SCALE Challenge winners will be introduced to the entrepreneurial community in Northwest Arkansas, including potential partners such as Walmart, J.B. Hunt and Tyson. The winners will also be immersed in activities that demonstrate the general quality of life the region has to offer. In addition to being home to three Fortune 500 companies, Northwest Arkansas has been ranked among the top five best places to live in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for the last four years and has been in the top 30 fastest growing metro areas in the U.S. since 2015. The region’s expansive trail network and vibrant downtowns lead to inclusion in the PeopleforBikes 2019 top ten cities ranking.

In addition, the winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Northwest Arkansas, where they will also demonstrate their solutions and pitch for seed funding at an investor forum. With guidance from CAI, the SCALE Challenge winners will form their start-up companies and pursue licensing and/or collaboration agreements from the institutions where the inventions were sourced.

Cameron Geiger, Senior Vice President at Walmart, said, “The SCALE Challenge has the potential to transform retail supply chains. The platform accelerates the introduction of breakthrough innovation that is unique to any other program. Walmart is excited to see what the SCALE Challenge will offer to help us serve our customers with even greater quality and precision, allowing us to better sense and predict in dynamic marketplaces.”

Ben Lamm, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and member of the invention selection committee, added, “AI and other emerging technologies are transforming supply chains. The SCALE Challenge will accelerate the Artificial Intelligence Revolution and reinforce that startups in the South can compete with the best in Silicon Valley.”

To launch 20+ disruptive startups through the SCALE Challenge, CAI will leverage its award-winning challenge-accelerator model. Since 2014, CAI scaled its first-of-a-kind, turnkey model by 10X, launched 280+ startups and trained 3500+ entrepreneurs in 100+ cities worldwide. CAI is named as the “Tinder for Startups” by Nature, the “Shark Tank on Steroids” by BIO, and a “Powerful Innovation Toolkit” by the White House. Winners of CAI’s prior challenges include the world’s largest startup prize winners (43North), nine Forbes 30 Under 30 members, three Y Combinator graduates, three MassChallenge winners, and five Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardees.

The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) is a global public-private partnership, non-profit focused on creating a virtuous circle of innovation and driving growth breakthroughs through novel, creative paradigms and models. CAI's mission is to accelerate and increase the volume of technology commercialization to ignite entrepreneurship, bolster the global economy, and maximize the potential of promising inventions. CAI’s award-winning challenge-based accelerator, rigorous evidence-based due diligence, and capital-efficient lean management models serve to hyper-accelerate “gazelle” high-performing startups for outsized investor returns. For additional information about CAI, please visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Rosemarie Truman
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